Now there is a hope for millions of Americans who suffer from a migraine. The first drug aimed for prevention of the headaches has gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval on Thursday.
Researchers have discovered that the injected drug, known as Aimovig, or erenumab, can stop migraines if other treatments have failed to do so.
“Aimovig provides patients with a novel option for reducing the number of days with a migraine,” Dr. Eric Bastings, deputy director of the division of neurology products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told.
“We need new treatments for this painful and often debilitating condition,” he reported.
Countless of people suffer from the throbbing pain, sound and light sensitivity, and nausea that can come with migraines.
Aimovig function by blocking the key brain “neurotransmitter” chemical that sends out the pain signals, described a team of researchers who presented their study findings in last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles.
Working with the group of people with tough to treat migraine, the “study revealed that [Aimovig] reduced the average number of monthly migraine headaches by more than 50 percent for nearly a third of study participants,” lead researcher Dr. Uwe Reuter, of The Charite University Medicine Berlin in Germany, told in an AAN news release.
The FDA’s approval on Thursday was urged forward by the results of studies just like that one.
The most common side effects were injection-site reactions and constipation too.
The estimated cost of the drug would be $7,000 annually and can be covered by insurance, according to the published reports.
One U.S. migraine specialist was quite enthusiastic about the Aimovig’s potential.
“We have a new class of drugs — [Aimovig] likely to be the first to be on the market — that is showing great promise in preventing migraine attacks,” told Dr. Randall Berliner. He’s an adjunct neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
As Berliner explained, it has been a long, tough road to find the medicines that provide a reliable relief to migraine sufferers.
“Our bodies typically produce antibodies to fight off infections, cancers and other foreign agents that the immune system deems harmful. But physicians and scientists have learned to develop antibodies that can target agents that cause disease: tumors, abnormal immune cells, and now CGRP,” Berliner told.
“In so doing, [Aimovig ] very safely blocks a good deal of the migraines from occurring in the first place,” Berliner told.